How Lindsey Vonn mixes style with speed in Lake Louise

Less than 48 hours before a crucial part of her season gets under way in Lake Louise, Canada, Lindsey Vonn is launching her very own clothing collection.

Cameras start clicking when the greatest female ski racer of all time enters a ballroom in the luxurious Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, wearing a fitted black ribbed knit fabric sweater combined with a stretch legging with luminescent print.

The outfit is part of her signature collection she helped design with her long-time clothing sponsor Under Armour. According to SportsPro’s 2017 list of the world’s most marketable athletes, the American skier ranked 50th.

It’s a testament to Vonn’s marketability that she is one of only two skiers — male or female — in that list, with her US teammate Mikaela Shiffrin ranking ninth.

It’s perhaps no wonder the US sportswear brand and Vonn have picked Lake Louise as a launch venue.

The picturesque village in the Canadian Rockies, which is a two hour drive from Calgary, has often been nicknamed “Lake Lindsey” because she has notched up 18 World Cup victories there. Of her 39 World Cup downhill wins, 14 have come at Lake Louise.

Outside snow flurries are falling on the majestic peaks in the surrounding Banff National Park.

“If this goes well, it usually means the season goes well,” said Vonn.

“It was the only race I was able to watch on TV so I kind of felt like I knew what I was doing when I first got there. I also have a really good sense of where to create speed and where not to make mistakes on the course. It’s not always that you get that feeling.”

Chasing records

From December 1-3, Vonn will be competing in the downhill and Super G, an event in which she has enjoyed four World Cup victories at Lake Louise.

Her main target this season, of course, is Olympic gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in February.

It will be Vonn’s first Games since Vancouver in 2010, where her downhill triumph turned her into a global star and one of the world’s best-paid winter athletes with a net worth, according to Forbes, of about $3 million. Her other partners include the likes of Head, Oakley, Vail Resorts, GoPro and Red Bull.

At the age of 33, Vonn is getting ready for the final act of a long and illustrious career. As well as another shot at Olympic glory, she will also this season attempt to break the all-time World Cup record of 86 victories held by Ingemar Stenmark since 1989.

Just nine victories shy of catching the Swedish slalom legend, Vonn can make a big leap forward with three speed races on offer this weekend at Lake Louise.

Throughout her career, Vonn has battled with a number of potentially career-ending injuries, including a knee injury in 2013 that kept her out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Last year, she broke her arm and sustained nerve damage during a pre-season training crash in the US, which delayed her season start to January.

But, so far this season, so good.

“I feel like I am coming into this race this year as well prepared as I have been in the last five or six years,” she said.

“I had a great summer, going to Chile and New Zealand and a little bit in Soelden [Austria], too, so I am really excited to be here and hopefully I can get the season started off right, like I know I can.”

She added: “Historically, whenever I start off the season well here I continue on and it’s critical for my confidence, and to make sure my equipment is working well and just to get the ball rolling.”

Dress rehearsal

As for her new collection, which consists of six pieces each named after a milestone win in her career, Vonn said she’s always wanted to design her own ski clothes.

“I wanted to come up with something that was obviously fashion-forward, I wanted to have something that was authentic to me but also something that performs very well,” she said.

“I’ve been skiing since I was two-and-a-half years old, so I know a thing or two about ski gear.”